Amber Dubois was 14 years old when she disappeared near her home in San Diego County. One year later, in 2010, another teenage girl in a neighboring town, 17-year-old Chelsea King, disappeared while jogging. A third woman was attacked in the area but was able to escape and identify John Albert Gardner, who confessed to everything. In 2010, Gardner was sentenced to life in prison without parole, without a right to appeal. It’s not Gardner’s first experience in prison. At the age of 21, he was convicted of molesting a 13-year-old female neighbor. He spent five years in prison. After that the sex offender violated the terms of his parole seven times including living too close to a school.
Gardner’s mother, psychiatric nurse Cathy Osborn, approved of Gardner being put on psychiatric medication starting at age 6. When he was 10, he was held in a psychiatric hospital for 60 days. He was labeled “seriously emotionally disturbed.” Osborn was interviewed for the book that investigated the murders of Dubois and King, Lost Girls, by Caitlin Rother. Osborn says her son’s first prison sentence made his condition “immeasurably worse, possibly giving him a kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. He repeatedly told prison officials about his homicidal fantasies.” Dateline NBC will air their investigative report on September 3 at 9pm.